Hearing loss that is left untreated can cause personal safety issues. According to studies, certain accidental injuries have been linked to hearing loss. The leading causes of mortality and morbidity in the United States are accidental injuries.
Prevalence and Symptoms of Hearing Loss
According to the NIH, one of the most common health concerns that individuals face is hearing loss which affects an estimated 40 Americans over the age of 18. Various other possible causes of hearing loss are still under research even though most causes of hearing loss have been determined as well as treatment options and prevention methods. Presbycusis also is known as age-related hearing loss, is the most common type of hearing loss. This type of hearing loss happens gradually over time. Hearing loss is a normal and treatable part of the aging process as many changes occur during aging. Sometimes symptoms become severe or maybe notice by someone else before you realize it is happening. Hearing loss that is inherited genetically from a parent and can be sensorineural, mixed, or conductive. There are over 400 known rare and genetic syndromes that involve hearing loss. With more sophisticated genetic testing in the near future, more types of rare and genetic hearing loss will be identified. Causes of hearing loss include:
- Noise-induced: loud noise exposure that is prolonged.
- Illness-related: various disorders and illnesses that cause hearing loss.
- Unilateral: hearing loss that affects one ear, also known as single-sided deafness or SSD.
- Drug medication-related: ototoxic drugs, or medication and drugs that cause hearing loss.
- Tumor and head trauma-related: drain lost from tumors or head trauma that cause damage to the inner ear.
Studies on Injuries Related to Hearing Loss
According to the CDC, in 2011, unintentional injuries consisted of 5.0% of all documented causes of death. In 2013, an estimated 28.1 million emergency visits were reported for unintentional injuries. Sensory impairments, as well as chronic health conditions, have been some of the identifying factors that have increased the risk of accidental injuries. With advances in delivery and healthcare technology, life expectancy is increasing. Many individuals now live with sensory impairments and health issues which are expected to increase over time. An estimated 16% of the US population is affected by hearing loss which is one of the most common sensory impairments. From 2007 to 2015 according to the data from the National Health Interview Survey, an estimated 6.6 million adults in the US which were documented as 1 in every 6, viewed their hearing to be less than good or excellent. An increased risk of accidental injury was documented with adults who had major hearing issues and were twice as likely to experience accidental injuries.
Hearing Loss Treatment with Hearing Aids
The most common type of hearing loss treatments is hearing aids. Many styles, technologies, and features are offered today which we’re not available in the past. Small customizable electronic devices that can adjust to various types of hearing loss are called hearing aids. Digital hearing aids can pick up sound using a single microphone, a speaker, a battery, and a computer chip for sound processing and amplification. Today’s more sophisticated hearing aids offer rechargeable batteries and a direct smartphone connection.
The Benefits of Treating Hearing Loss
Hearing is important for keeping yourself out of harm’s way. Often, you hear danger before it is seen which allows you time to prepare yourself to avoid an issue. You can place yourself and others at risk whether it is in the community, at work, or home if these warning signs cannot be heard. According to a study done in 2009, most smoke alarms are more effective at alerting those with severe hearing issues in any other alarms. The study also took a look into bed shakers, strobe lights, and many other various emergency warning devices which proved to be beneficial to those with hearing loss issues. Low-frequency smoke detectors more recommended for those experiencing mild or severe hearing loss. When purchased, these types of detectors provide security with or without hearing aids. Regular high-pitched alarms as they cannot be heard during an emergency with those who have hearing loss issues. Those who have hearing issues are more likely to hear a low-frequency alarm with a square wave of 520 Hz during an emergency.
It is necessary to obtain hearing aids if your hearing test shows significant signs of hearing loss. Setting a hearing care appointment is the first step of healthy hearing for you or your loved one.